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Board seeks more info on man incarcerated for 37 years

Board seeks more info on man incarcerated for 37 years

(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News, File)

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UTAH STATE PRISON — A man who has been incarcerated for nearly four decades for a high profile crime committed when he was 18 will have to wait four more months before finding out if he'll be granted parole.

The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole wants fresh evaluations conducted on John Calhoun, 55.

In 1980, Calhoun was 18 when he broke into the home of prominent Salt Lake businessman and part owner of the Salt Lake Golden Eagles Hockey Club, Thayne Acord. Calhoun and a friend went into the West Valley house to steal money so they could buy marijuana, when Acord and his wife, Lorraine Acord, came home.

Despite putting up no resistance, and being tied up in the basement, the Acords were shot and killed at close range by Calhoun.

Calhoun was spared the death penalty because of one holdout juror who reportedly had concerns about executing a man so young. Instead, he was sentenced to two consecutive terms of life in prison.

During his last parole hearing in September, it was noted that Calhoun has been a model inmate for the past 30 years, completing every life skills class the prison has to offer — twice — and earning several college associate degrees. He told the board he is no longer that 18-year-old kid whose only goal in life was to get high.

The Acord family, however, is still adamantly opposed to Calhoun ever being released.

Board member Carrie Cochran, who conducted Calhoun's hearing, told him the full board would have a hard time deciding whether parole should be granted. On Friday, the board released its decision, nearly three months after Calhoun's hearing, an unusually long amount of time for the board to consider a case.

Board members want a paper review of Calhoun's case on April 15. Until then, they want more and updated information about Calhoun's treatment needs, risk, and suitability for placement in the community.

The board wants another psychological evaluation, a personality assessment, a substance abuse evaluation and a risk assessment conducted, including an evaluation on his level of suitability for release.

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Pat Reavy is a longtime police and courts reporter. He joined the team in 2021, after many years of reporting at the Deseret News and KSL NewsRadio before that.


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